With a unique title and catchy cover design, this one will take you on a breezy ride through one playful and warm summer vacation. A beautiful and thoughtful book it is and it comes with a great message!
Geeta, an eleven year old girl is the protagonist. She narrates the story of one such summer vacation when she visits her maternal grandparents little town, Ambalakunnu at Kerala. Madhavan Nair, her Apoopan owns a mansion, has servants, pets etc. When his grandchildren come visiting from Mumbai and Delhi, the quaint house buzzes with activity. When you read the story, you would know it. Geeta is the little one who happens to make new friends that summer and eventually the chemistry between them causes a huge impact in her life.
In the book we get to read many small stories hand in hand. One in which Geeta keeps us abreast with the happenings in the Nair house, the customary routines, the timelessness of Devaki Nilayam, antics of Keshavan Mama, fights of her cousins Vikki and Ravi with Divya and Mini and the kitchen gossip. Then there is another story of Bindu, the daughter of Koovait Kannan and Sundarikutty getting married to Venu. Kannan, the plumber who has just turned rich and how the richness goes into his wife’s head is an interesting take on human nature. But soon when things take a turn, Sundarikutty is back to seeking help from her previous employers, the Nairs. Between this another story cooks up in the kitchen when Kannan’s soon Babu is heads over heels in love with the cook at the Nair’s place and during this phase when he does all to be around her, he teaches Geeta to ride a bicycle.
The humor and imagery wins in this quick-read book. The author has a distinctive style of her own and it makes you take an instant liking for her sweet, simple and sorted writing. The family tale etched by her touches upon many aspects of life, love, marriage, innocence of childhood, societal rules, ego, pride, richness, perceptions of affluent and the poor etc. Initially it was tough to catch up with Malayalam phrases but then a glossary at the end of the book comes out helful. It was very thoughtful of the writer to maintain the authenticity of the place, characters by portraying it all with the original dialect.
Overall the theme resonates with childhood, innocence and growing up. Well, the best times to grab it up would have been the vacations but make the most of it in the festival holidays around. Aruna Nambiar’s book ‘Mango Cheeks Metal Teeth’ is sure to make you nostalgic like it did to me.
— Your’s truely, M